It was summer 1902 I was 19 and a shoe shiner. When I heard that Afrana had declared war on my home country of Blaman. Me and my friends Paul and Jacob enlisted as soon as we heard. We were placed in the 335 legion and brought to the front in two weeks. We were in the Fossa forest region. I was smoking a cigarette when Sargent Own came up to us and said,” Let’s go we got word that some Afranan infantry was just a few miles up the road from where we were.” We hopped out of our little hole I asked the Sargent if he had any tips for me since he was a 39 year old veteran of the rosary wars. He told me just keep my head down and don’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Then us and the 3rd troop started marching ( a troop was about 20 men with a Sargent in command). On the way Paul came up to me and said,” Joseph what do you think combat is going to be like.” I replied,” I don’t know.” About that time lieutenant Cox came through telling the whole squadron to get down ( a squadron was 3 troops led by a lieutenant). Me and Paul crouched down behind a fallen tree we could see the Afanan infantry dug into a creek. The lieutenant told me and Paul we were going to get as close as possible throw grenades and kill the survivors with out bayonets. We nodded and waited for the order. When it came we started moving in a half crouched position. We had maybe 50 yards between us and them. Then a shout came out and people started shooting at us I jumped behind a tree and started praying,” Oh dear lord who are in heaven please save me from this hell.” Then Paul grabbed me and said we have to move or get killed in the open. I knew he was right but I couldn’t bring myself to jump out into the open, so Paul pushed me out and pulled me with him. Once we got into grenade range ( 60 feet) we threw our grenades and jumped back into cover. Once we heard the grenades go off we jumped in I was not prepared for the sight that awaited me I saw a man with only half a skull me another with a chunk of his hip missing. Paul was leading through the creek bed when one of the Afanan soldiers jumped out of a corner and onto Paul. I could feel my heart about to pound out of my chest along with Paul yelling,” Joseph shoot the bastard.” I pulled up and shot him in the chest he fell over with a splash into the ankle blood red and muddy brown water that was flowing through the creek. I stood there in a daze when Paul shook me and said,” you with me.” I nodded still half dazed I made the mistake of looking into the man face that I had just killed he couldn’t have been much older then me yet there he was now dead. We continued to go through the creek until we found the Sargent and Jacob. The Sargent told me that we had put the Afanan soldiers into a retreat and that the 2nd squadron ( 4-6 troops) were coming up to reinforce us. Then it hit me like a train I killed a man I realized that war was not like the stories I heard about heroic charges it was hell.
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